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Dimmesdale struggles with the inner torment of his secret sin. He knows that it will slowly kill him, eating at him from the inside out. He also knows that he does not have the strength to confess his sin himself. While Hester stands on the scaffold, he as her pastor begs her to reveal the name of the man who she had an affair with. He tells her that she should not have to bear the penalty of their sin alone. He also tells her that perhaps he is too weak of an individual to reveal his own sin and that her naming him might save him much inner torment. At the time, he seems like a dutiful pastor. Later the audience realizes that this plea is because of his own guilt and weakness.
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